Principal David Lloyd Johnston

David Johnston, LLD’00, took McGill’s helm in 1979 at the age of 37 and served for 15 years.

Born in Sudbury and raised in Sault Ste. Marie, Johnston called himself “a small-town kid” who never forgot those small-town values. Former McGill colleagues frequently single out his warmth, integrity and optimism – qualities that helped galvanize the University community and carry out a record-breaking fundraising campaign. During his tenure, the University also raised student entrance requirements and introduced regular external and internal reviews of all academic units.

“David brings out the best in people and allows others to shine,” said former Director of Admissions and Recruitment Kim Bartlett in a 2010 interview after Johnston had been named Canada’s 28th Governor General.

Called “the People’s Governor General,” Johnston called upon all Canadians to join in the building of a smarter, more caring nation.

David Johnston is “a man of strength and intelligence and compassion,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during a ceremony marking the end of Johnston’s tenure as Governor General. He is “a man of integrity who embodies the principles for which our country stands.”

Johnston also served as President of the University of Waterloo. He was the first non-U.S. citizen to chair the Board of Overseers at Harvard University.